So much has happened since I last wrote. We welcomed our second daughter, into the world on New Years Eve, just about making it into 2018. Here is our beautiful Arya Rae von Meding.
We are getting used to being a family of 4. Quite the adjustment, but we are so lucky to have 2 beautiful girls.
This is one of the happiest times of my life- however is it also a very sad time. With the arrival of our second daughter, it hit home just how unequal we are as a family. In Ireland, under the current legislation, my wife Audrey is seen as a legal stranger to our children. Because I physically gave birth to the kids, I am considered their biological mother. When in fact, Audrey is the biological mother and I am the birth mother (because we did Reciprocal IVF). So despite being legally married and despite the fact that they are her biological kids, Audrey has zero parental rights to our children.
The week after Arya was born, there was a flurry in the media when one of our politicians announced that there would soon be 'equality for same sex parents'. Of course most of the news outlets picked up on this and regurgitated the information.
What they failed to include were the actual facts.
Firstly that this wasn't new news. This is legislation that was passed over 4 years ago. And it should have been commenced 4 years ago. But our government has been stalling and making empty promises- and it still hasn't come into effect.
Secondly they were reporting that there would be equality for all same sex families. Which is entirely false. Under the new legislation, there is going to be equality for SOME same sex couples.
The proposed legislation is only going to apply to female couples who have used an Irish fertility clinic with an identifiable donor. Everyone else will be excluded. Female couples who have gone abroad for treatment (like us), those who have done an at home insemination and all same sex fathers. This means there will be a massive number of families who are going to be further discriminated against because of how and where they conceived or created their families.
What is even crazier about our particular situation is that we might have been able to register Audrey as a parent with a loophole they've provided. This loophole is for female couples who have gone abroad for treatment and children born as a result before the commencement of the legislation will be covered under the new law. However because we used Audrey's eggs, we are disqualified from this loophole.
In their eyes they view Audrey as an egg donor and under their legislation you are not allowed to know the identity of your donor. So because they are biologically her children, it means she isn’t allowed to be registered. The irony is, that if we had used a random egg donor and neither of us had any biological connection to our kids, then she would be able to be registered. It’s absolute madness. Who came up with that? They are basically saying that I'm not allowed to use the genetic material of my spouse in order to conceive a child. But if Audrey were a man there would be no issue using her sperm (genetic material) along with donor eggs. That is very common fertility procedure actually, and perfectly legal in Ireland. In fact, children born to heterosexual couples through IVF in Ireland, regardless of whether donor sperm and eggs were used, will automatically have their parents recognised. No one would ever question parentage of a heterosexual couple going to register the birth of their child.
I was absolutely enraged at how this information was being misrepresented in the media. We received countless emails and DM's from well meaning people congratulating us on our soon to be achieved equality. I can tell you that each and every one of these messages was like a dagger to the heart. We had to reply and inform our friends and colleagues that while this was good news for SOME female couples, it was not good news for us.
So in the week following Arya's birth, instead of being nestled up at home in that 'new baby bliss', we were doing radio and television interviews, trying to spread the word that all was not in fact ok. And that we would need to continue lobbying and fighting for the rights of all children in same sex families. Not just the select few who are qualified under the proposed legislation. That's the danger when things like this are reported incorrectly. People assume that everything has been sorted out and they forget about it then. And we need all the help and support we can get, if there is to be significant change.
So please share this. Please tell everyone you know. The fight is far from over. We will not rest until all our children are treated equally. No more and no less. Just the same as everyone else. Because we are all the same.
We are just a normal family and normal parents, trying to protect our two little girls.